Title:
Compressed tissue product
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Tissue products comprising an expandable dispensing carton and a compressed stack of folded tissues, such as facial tissues, can significantly reduce costs associated with shipping such low density products. Expansion of the expandable dispensing carton can be activated by the user or the retailer, thereby releasing the compression of the tissue stack and allowing the tissues to be dispensed normally.



Inventors:
Shannon, Thomas Gerard (Neenah, WI, US)
Kruchoski, Benjamin Joseph (Appleton, WI, US)
Application Number:
12/286563
Publication Date:
04/01/2010
Filing Date:
09/30/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
53/436
International Classes:
B65D83/08; A47K10/24; B65B13/20; B65H1/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
COLLINS, MICHAEL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KIMBERLY-CLARK WORLDWIDE, INC. (Neenah, WI, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A tissue product comprising a compressed stack of folded tissue sheets constrained within an expandable dispensing carton, said expandable dispensing carton comprising: (a) a rigid lower portion having a bottom and four sidewalls; (b) a rigid upper portion having four sidewalls and a top with a dispensing opening through which the tissue sheets are dispensed, said upper portion and said lower portions slidably fitting past each other; and (c) a releasable constraining device which maintains the upper and lower portions of the carton in a contracted position until released by a user, whereupon the compressed stack of tissue sheets decompresses and raises the upper portion relative to the lower portion.

2. The tissue product of claim 1 wherein the releasable constraining device is a sticker or adhesive tape.

3. The tissue product of claim 1 wherein the releasable constraining device is a plastic overwrap or plastic sleeve.

4. The tissue product of claim 1 wherein the expandable dispensing carton has a height in a contracted position and a different height in an expanded position, wherein the height of the expandable dispensing carton in the contracted position is from about 20 to about 80 percent of the height of the expandable dispensing carton in the expanded position.

5. The tissue product of claim 1 wherein the expandable dispensing carton has a height in a contracted position and a different height in an expanded position, wherein the height of the expandable dispensing carton in the contracted position is from about 30 to about 70 percent of the height of the expandable dispensing carton in the expanded position.

6. The tissue product of claim 1 wherein the expandable dispensing carton has a height in a contracted position and a different height in an expanded position, wherein the height of the expandable dispensing carton in the contracted position is from about 40 to about 60 percent of the height of the expandable dispensing carton in the expanded position.

7. The tissue product of claim 1 wherein height of expandable dispensing carton, after all of the tissue sheets have been dispensed, is less than the height of the expandable dispensing carton in the expanded position.

8. The tissue product of claim 1 wherein the top portion slidably fits over the bottom portion.

9. The tissue product of claim 1 wherein the bottom portion slidably fits over the top portion.

10. A shipping container containing an assembly of expandable dispensing cartons containing a compressed stack of folded tissue sheets, said expandable dispensing cartons being constrained in a contracted position by the shipping container.

11. A method of making a tissue product comprising: (a) providing an expandable dispensing carton having an expanded position and a contracted position, said expandable dispensing carton comprising a rigid lower portion having a bottom and four sidewalls and a rigid upper portion having four sidewalls and a top with a dispensing opening through which the tissue sheets are dispensed, said upper portion sized to slidably fit over said lower portion; (b) inserting a stack of tissue sheets into the bottom portion of the carton; (c) vertically compressing the stack of tissue sheets within the carton by lowering the upper portion over the lower portion; and (d) sealing the carton in a contracted position, whereby the stack of tissue sheets is constrained within the carton in a compressed condition.

12. A method of making a tissue product comprising: (a) providing an expandable dispensing carton having an expanded position and a contracted position; (b) inserting a compressed stack of tissue sheets into the expandable dispensing carton while the expandable dispensing carton is in a contracted position; and (c) closing and sealing the expandable dispensing carton in the contracted position with a releasable constraining device, whereby the stack of tissue sheets is constrained within the expandable dispensing carton in a compressed condition.

13. A method of providing plurality of expandable dispensing cartons to a retailer comprising: (a) loading a plurality of expandable dispensing cartons into a shipping container, each expandable dispensing carton containing an uncompressed stack of folded tissues; (b) compressing the plurality of expandable dispensing cartons within the shipping container, whereby the stack of folded tissues within each of the expandable dispensing cartons is compressed; (c) closing and sealing the shipping container, whereby the plurality of expandable dispensing cartons are maintained in a compressed position by the closed shipping container; (d) shipping the shipping container to the retailer; and (e) opening the shipping container, whereby the plurality of expandable dispensing cartons expand to their expanded position and the stack of folded tissues within the expandable dispensing cartons is decompressed.

14. A method of providing plurality of expandable dispensing cartons to a retailer comprising: (a) compressing a plurality of expandable dispensing cartons, each expandable dispensing carton containing a stack of folded tissues and having an expanded position and a compressed position; (b) loading the plurality of expandable dispensing cartons into a shipping container and closing the shipping container, whereby the plurality of expandable dispensing cartons are maintained in the compressed position by the shipping container; (c) shipping the shipping container to the retailer; and (d) opening the shipping container, whereby the plurality of expandable dispensing cartons expand to their expanded position and the stack of folded tissues within the expandable dispensing cartons is decompressed.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

When shipping folded tissue products, such as cartons of facial tissues, a significant portion of the transportation costs incurred are due to shipping air because of the low density of the tissues. Consequently, when shipping by truck, for example, the volume capacity of the truck is reached before the weight capacity. Also, on the retailers' shelves, the bulkiness of the tissue products consumes shelf space and therefore limits the number of items the retailers can stock. Unfortunately, placing more tissues into a given carton to increase shipping cost efficiency and/or reduce consumption of retail shelf space creates compression within the stack of tissues and thereby makes it difficult for the user to remove the first few tissues from the carton without tearing them.

While the retailer often desires products which use less shelf space, there are disadvantages to using compressed or concentrated products. It is desirable that compressed or concentrated products be sold at a unit cost, such as cost per sheet in the case of tissue products, which is equivalent to that of the bulkier, less concentrated products. However, shoppers may associate the lower volume of the product carton with there being less product in the carton and, upon seeing an equivalent cost for a smaller carton, assume that the product within the smaller carton is not a good value compared to the product within the larger carton. This is particularly true for facial tissue, which has relatively low shopper involvement in being selected at the shelf. Thus, it would be desirable to have a product that could take advantage of the lower shipping costs associated with a compressed or concentrated product, yet not have its presence be affected at shelf due to having a smaller carton volume.

Therefore, there is a need for tissue products that can be shipped more economically without sacrificing ease of dispensing or presence of the product on the retailer's shelf.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It has now been discovered that a tissue product can be made which improves shipping cost efficiency while maintaining acceptable dispensing characteristics.

Hence in one aspect, the invention resides in a tissue product comprising a compressed stack of folded tissue sheets, particularly folded facial tissue sheets, constrained within an expandable dispensing carton, said expandable dispensing carton comprising: (a) a rigid lower portion having a bottom and four sidewalls; (b) a rigid upper portion having four sidewalls and a top with a dispensing opening through which the tissue sheets are dispensed, said upper portion and said lower portion slidably fitting past each other; and (c) a releasable constraining device, such as an adhesive tape or sticker, which maintains the upper and lower portions of the carton in a contracted position until released by a user, whereupon the compressed stack of tissue sheets decompresses and raises the upper portion relative to the lower portion. In a particularly suitable embodiment, the upper portion slides over the bottom portion. However, in another embodiment, the lower portion slides over the top portion. Also, because the upper and lower portions can slidably move relative to each other, as the tissues are removed from the carton by the user, the upper portion of the carton can adjust downwardly to eliminate or reduce the air space between the dispensing opening and the top of the tissue stack, thereby reducing the occurrence of fallback. In this aspect and all other aspects of the invention, the folded tissue sheets can be interfolded for pop-up dispensing, or the folded tissue sheets can be simply be independently stacked on top of each other for reach-in dispensing. Both forms of tissue products are well known in the art.

In another aspect, the invention resides in a method of making a tissue product comprising: (a) providing an expandable dispensing carton having an expanded position and a contracted position, said expandable dispensing carton comprising a rigid lower portion having a bottom and four sidewalls and a rigid upper portion having four sidewalls and a top with a dispensing opening through which the tissue sheets are dispensed, said upper portion sized to slidably fit over said lower portion; (b) inserting a stack of tissue sheets into the bottom portion of the carton; (c) vertically compressing the stack of tissue sheets within the carton by lowering the upper portion over the lower portion; and (d) sealing the carton in a contracted position, whereby the stack of tissue sheets is constrained within the carton in a compressed condition.

In another aspect, the invention resides in a method of making a tissue product comprising: (a) providing an expandable dispensing carton having an expanded position and a contracted position; (b) inserting a compressed stack of tissue sheets into the expandable dispensing carton while the expandable dispensing carton is in a contracted position; and (c) closing and sealing the expandable dispensing carton in the contracted position with a releasable constraining device, whereby the stack of tissue sheets is constrained within the expandable dispensing carton in a compressed condition.

In another aspect, the invention resides in a method of providing plurality of expandable dispensing cartons to a retailer comprising: (a) loading a plurality of expandable dispensing cartons into a shipping container, each expandable dispensing carton containing an uncompressed stack of folded tissues; (b) compressing the plurality of expandable dispensing cartons within the shipping container, whereby the stack of folded tissues within each of the expandable dispensing cartons is compressed; (c) closing and sealing the shipping container, whereby the plurality of expandable dispensing cartons are maintained in a compressed position by the closed shipping container; (d) shipping the shipping container to the retailer; and (e) opening the shipping container, whereby the plurality of expandable dispensing cartons expand to their expanded position and the stack of folded tissues within the expandable dispensing cartons is decompressed.

In another aspect, the invention resides in a method of providing plurality of expandable dispensing cartons to a retailer comprising: (a) compressing a plurality of expandable dispensing cartons, each expandable dispensing carton containing a stack of folded tissues and having an expanded position and a compressed position; (b) loading the plurality of expandable dispensing cartons into a shipping container and closing the shipping container, whereby the plurality of expandable dispensing cartons are maintained in the compressed position by the shipping container; (c) shipping the shipping container to the retailer; and (d) opening the shipping container, whereby the plurality of expandable dispensing cartons expand to their expanded position and the stack of folded tissues within the expandable dispensing cartons is decompressed.

In another aspect, the invention resides in a shipping container containing an assembly of expandable dispensing cartons containing a compressed stack of folded tissue sheets, said expandable dispensing cartons being constrained in a contracted position by the shipping container.

As used herein, “expandable dispensing cartons” are dispensing cartons for use by consumers, such as facial tissue cartons, which are made of a rigid material, such as cardboard or the like, which contain and dispense the unused portion of a stack of tissues until all of the tissues have been dispensed. Such cartons are specifically designed to be capable of expanding in the opposite direction to that in which the contained tissue stack is compressed and can be released from their contracted position to their expanded position by the user. As used herein, the “contracted position” is the position or state of the expandable dispensing carton when the stack of tissue sheets within the carton is compressed. Conversely, the “expanded position” is the position or state of the carton when the stack of tissue sheets within the carton is not compressed.

By way of example, particularly suitable expandable dispensing cartons can comprise a rigid lower portion and a rigid upper portion that can move (slide) relative to each other. Suitably, the rigid upper portion is sized to be slightly larger than the lower portion so that the upper portion can slide over the lower portion. The difference in the dimensions of the upper and lower portions to enable relative movement can vary, although a snug fit is desirable, provided any frictional resistance does not prevent the compressed tissue stack from expanding. The individual expandable dispensing cartons can be constrained or temporarily immobilized (sealed) in the contracted position by tape, stickers, plastic overwrap, straps or any other suitable means that can be manipulated by the consumer to allow the expandable dispensing carton to expand to its expanded position. In the expanded position, the compression of the tissue stack within the carton is relieved to enable the first several sheets to be dispensed from the carton without tearing. A further advantage of expandable dispensing cartons of this type is the ability of the upper portion of the carton to automatically lower itself, or be lowered by the user with slight downward pressure, from the expanded position as tissue sheets are removed from the carton. As a consequence, the distance between the dispensing orifice and the top of the tissue stack within the carton is minimized, which in turn reduces the tendency for fallback to occur. (“Fallback” occurs during pop-up dispensing when the next sheet within the carton fails to be partially withdrawn through the dispensing opening upon removal of the preceding sheet and is facilitated by a large distance between the top of the stack of interfolded sheets and the dispensing opening. Fallback necessitates the need for the consumer to reach back into the box, grab the leading sheet and pull the leading sheet through the dispensing orifice.)

As used herein, “tissue sheets” includes paper sheets suitable for use as facial tissue, bath tissue, table napkins and/or paper towels.

In the interests of brevity and conciseness, any ranges of values set forth in this specification contemplate all values within the range and are to be construed as written description support for claims reciting any sub-ranges having endpoints which are whole number or otherwise of like numerical values within the specified range in question. By way of a hypothetical illustrative example, a disclosure in this specification of a range of from 1 to 5 shall be considered to support claims to any of the following ranges: 1-5; 1-4; 1-3; 1-2; 2-5; 2-4; 2-3; 3-5; 3-4; and 4-5. Similarly, a disclosure in this specification of a range from 0.1 to 0.5 shall be considered to support claims to any of the following ranges: 0.1-0.5; 0.1-0.4; 0.1-0.3; 0.1-0.2; 0.2-0.5; 0.2-0.4; 0.2-0.3; 0.3-0.5; 0.3-0.4; and 0.4-0.5. In addition, any values prefaced by the word “about” are to be construed as written description support for the value itself. By way of example, a range of “from about 1 to about 5” is to be interpreted as also disclosing and providing support for a range of “from 1 to 5”, “from 1 to about 5” and “from about 1 to 5”.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a schematic illustration of an expandable dispensing carton and a stack of folded tissues. Both the carton and the stack of folded tissues are in their “normal” expanded or uncompressed state.

FIG. 2 is a schematic illustration of a tissue product comprising a compressed stack of folded tissues constrained within an expandable dispensing carton in its “contracted” position.

FIG. 3 is a schematic illustration of the product of FIG. 2, wherein the expandable dispensing carton is in its expanded position and the stack of folded tissues has expanded and at least substantially recovered to its original uncompressed height.

FIG. 4 is a schematic illustration of a two-piece expandable dispensing carton in accordance with this invention having a top (upper portion) that slidably fits over a bottom (lower portion).

FIG. 5 is a schematic illustration of the expandable dispensing carton of FIG. 4 in a contracted position and maintained (sealed) in the contracted position with a removable sticker adhered to a sidewall of the upper portion and the bottom of the lower portion of the carton.

FIG. 6 is a schematic illustration of an expandable dispensing carton having accordion-type sidewalls that enable the carton to expand and contract in the vertical direction. This carton design is particularly useful when a shipping container is used to maintain a plurality of expandable dispensing cartons in their contracted position during shipping.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

Referring to FIG. 1, the invention will be schematically described in more detail. As shown in FIG. 1, the stack (S) of folded tissues has an initial non-compressed height (hs1) and the expandable dispensing carton (C) has a non-compressed or expanded position height (hc1) as measured between the inside surface of the top face (F1) of the carton and the inside surface of the opposing bottom face (F2) of the carton. Also shown is the an oval dispensing opening (O) in the top face, through which the tissues are dispensed. Preferably, (hs1)≦(hc1) so that when the user opens the carton, the stack of folded tissues is not compressed or not significantly compressed to the extent dispensing of the tissues is adversely affected. The carton is designed such that its internal volume may be decreased and increased by relative movement of the top and bottom faces of the carton in the vertical direction (perpendicular to the plane of top face (F1)).

FIG. 2 schematically illustrates the product of this invention in a form suitable for shipping. As shown in FIG. 2, in which the front sidewall of the expandable dispensing carton is removed for purposes of illustration, the stack of compressed folded tissue sheets (S) is constrained within the expandable dispensing carton (C) when the expandable dispensing carton is in the contracted, expandable position. During manufacturing, the stack of tissues can be separately compressed and inserted into the expandable dispensing carton while the carton is in the contracted position, such as by inserting the compressed stack or clip of tissues into an open end of the closed and sealed carton. This is easily accomplished with sealable end flaps on the upper and lower portions of the carton as are commonly used to load partially-assembled tissue cartons with uncompressed tissue clips or stacks. Alternatively, particularly for a two-piece expandable dispensing carton as illustrated in FIG. 4, for example, the tissue stack can be placed into the bottom of the carton in an uncompressed state and the top of the carton can be placed over the stack and used to compress the stack as the top is lowered to the carton's contracted position. In either case, the contracted height of carton is (hc2), which again is measured between the inside surface of the top face of the carton and the inside surface of the opposing bottom face of the carton, such that (hc2)<(hs1). The compressed height of the stack of sheets is (hs2), where (hs2)=(hc2).

FIG. 3 schematically illustrates the product of FIG. 2 of this invention after the user has released the expandable dispensing carton closure means and the carton has been allowed to vertically expand to its expanded condition as the compression of the stack of tissues within the carton is released by the user. Under this condition, the expanded stack of tissues has raised the top face of the carton such that (hs3)=(hc3).

As mentioned above, FIG. 4 illustrates one type of expandable dispensing carton or carton suitable for purposes of this invention. As shown, the carton comprises a top cover or upper portion (T) having a height (ht) and a receptacle or bottom portion (B) having a height (hb). As previously described in connection with FIG. 1, the heights of the top cover and bottom receptacle are measured relative to the inside surfaces of the top face and bottom face, respectively. As shown in this embodiment, the top cover has a top face (F1) and four sidewalls and the bottom receptacle has a bottom face (F2) and four sidewalls. The length and width dimensions of the top cover are selected such that the inside dimensions of the top cover are larger than the corresponding outside dimensions of the bottom receptacle so that the top cover slidably fits over the sides of the bottom receptacle as shown. Clearances between corresponding sidewalls of about 0.1 inch or less are suitable for reliable operation without being too loose.

For purposes of this embodiment, ht+hb=hc1, provided the face of the top cover, when lowered, can contact the top of the stack and compress the stack before its downward travel is stopped. In other words, if the height of the top cover is too great, i.e. (hc) is greater than (hs1), the carton will close before the stack can be compressed. Also, the stack height of the non-compressed stack of folded tissues (hs1) (see FIG. 1) must be greater than (hb) in order to allow the stack to be partially exposed and thereby compressed by the overlapping top face as it is lowered onto the stack of folded tissues. Preferably, (hs1) is less than or equal to (ht+hb) so that, when the carton is opened by the user and the stack compression is released, the stack will not press up against the inner surface of the top face, which might detract from dispensing. As shown in FIG. 4, the compressed height of the carton (hc2) will be greater than or equal to the larger of the height of the top cover (ht) or the height of the bottom receptacle (hb). It must be noted that while the general shape of the expandable carton can be rectangular as shown, other shapes can also be employed, such as hexagonal, triangular, square and the like. In such cases, all that is required is that the top cover slidably fits over the bottom receptacle.

In the embodiment of FIG. 4, optional carton or carton graphics can be selected such that the bottom receptacle can be a solid color while top cover can contain various graphic images such as are commonly used for tissue cartons. Such an arrangement provides that the graphic images on top cover are not altered by the change in height that occurs when the carton is expanded. Preferably the solid color on the bottom receptacle is a complementary color relative to the graphics colors on the top cover.

FIG. 5 illustrates a product of this invention in which the expandable dispensing carton of FIG. 4 is maintained in a closed, sealed, expandable position with an adhesive sticker (L) that can easily be removed by the user. However, unlike the embodiment shown in FIG. 4, in this embodiment the bottom of the top cover is flush with the bottom face of the bottom receptacle. In any given embodiment, the degree to which the top cover and the bottom receptacle overlap in the closed or contracted position will depend upon the height of the stack of tissues, the heights of the top cover and the bottom receptacle, and the degree of compression desired. From an aesthetics standpoint, it is preferred that the top cover completely overlap the bottom receptacle, as shown in FIG. 5, to provide a cleaner appearance. The compressed package can be restrained in the compressed state by any suitable releasable constraining device, such as a removable or slittable adhesive strips or stickers, which allows the top and bottom components of the carton to be held immobile relative to one another until an intentional action is undertaken to break the restraint. Multiple restraining points may be employed, including the entire periphery of the bottom of the carton. In a specific embodiment the releasable constraining device can be a poly overwrap, such as a plastic sleeve covering the top, front side, bottom and back side of the carton.

Upon release of the restraint, the compressed carton expands to height (hc3) (see FIG. 1), and the compressed stack of tissues expands to height (hs3) such that: (hs3)≦(hc3); (hs2)<(hs3)≦(hs1); and (hc2)<(hc3)≦(hc1).

FIG. 6 is a schematic perspective view illustrating an accordion-type expandable dispensing carton useful for purposes of this invention where a shipping container is used as the releasable constraining device as herein describe below. As shown in FIG. 6A, the expandable dispensing carton (C) is in the expanded position having a carton height (hc1). A plurality of fold lines 5 are provided around the periphery of the sidewalls of the carton to enable the carton to partially collapse with downward pressure. FIG. 6B shows the carton of FIG. 6A in the partially collapsed or contracted position in which the sidewalls buckle along the fold lines to decrease the interior volume of the carton. In this position, the carton has a height (hc2). FIG. 6C is an end view of the expandable dispensing carton of FIG. 6B. The accordion-type cartons can be suitably loaded with a stack of tissues through open side flaps (not shown) while the carton is in the expanded position. Once the tissue stack is inserted, the end flaps are closed in a conventional manner. The carton can then be vertically compressed to the contracted position with the tissue stack inside.

While the concept of this invention is suitable for single cartons of tissue to be expanded by the ultimate user, it can also be suitable for retailers. This aspect of the invention can be advantageous because consumers do not always pay attention to the number of sheets in a box and often times they use the volume or height of the box as a visual means for perceiving which product on the shelf contains more units of product. Hence a compressed carton of tissues, while on the shelf, may be perceived by the consumer as containing less product than a non-compressed carton even when the compressed carton may have a significantly greater number of sheets. For this reason, at times, it may be desirable for the decompression and expansion of the expandable dispensing carton to be done by the retailer prior to the carton being placed on the retailer's shelf. In this manner, the benefits of lower shipping and storage costs are still realized while mitigating perceptual issues regarding quantity of product in the carton by the consumer.

When the decompression is done by the retailer, it is preferable to not have to release the compression of each expandable dispensing carton individually. For example, multiple expandable dispensing cartons can be provided in a shipping container, such as a corrugated box. The number of cartons within such shipping containers can be any number, but is typically from about 20 to about 40, normally assembled in a cube. The expandable dispensing cartons, each containing a stack of folded tissues, are collectively compressed either before or after they are loaded into the shipping container, which is then closed or otherwise sealed while the expandable dispensing cartons are in a compressed state. The interior of the shipping container thus serves as the constraining device to maintain the all of the individual expandable dispensing cartons in the compressed condition. When the shipping container is opened, such as at the retailer location, the individual expandable dispensing cartons of tissue expand to their expanded position to give them a normal appearance on the shelf. In this manner, consumer appeal on the retailer shelf is maintained while still achieving lower transportation and storage costs. Alternatively, instead of using a corrugated box, the multiple compressed expandable dispensing cartons can also be maintained in a compressed state with plastic wrap, such as shrink wrap.

In all embodiments, suitable mechanical means for collectively compressing the assembly of multiple expandable dispensing cartons and loading them into the shipping container, or loading the multiple expandable dispensing cartons into the shipping container and thereafter collectively compressing them, can be determined by those skilled in the packaging arts. For example, the assembly of cartons can be inserted into an open shipping box from the top and pneumatically compressed by a platen while the cartons are in the shipping box. The platen is gradually removed as the top flaps are closed, one by one. Alternatively, a flat rectangular piece of cardboard can be placed on top of the cartons prior to compression in order to assist maintaining the cartons in the compressed state as the top flaps are closed. This cardboard would remain inside the closed shipping box. Alternatively, the assembly of multiple expandable dispensing cartons can be vertically compressed in any suitable manner, such as between two large, thin plates placed above and below the assembly, and inserted sideways into an open shipping container. The two plates are slidably removed and the shipping container is thereafter closed. Alternatively, the shipping containers can be loaded by hand.

If an expandable dispensing carton of the kind disclosed in FIG. 4 is used, it may be advantageous to provide a means to prevent the top cover from easily separating from the bottom receptacle when the shipping container is opened by the retailer. This can easily be accomplished by providing one or more of the sidewalls of the top and bottom portions with one or more protrusions at appropriate locations, such as v-shaped hooks pointed in opposite directions, for example, which mechanically or frictionally engage each other and prevent the top cover from being inadvertently completely lifted off of the bottom receptacle. Alternative devices, such as adhesively attaching the top and bottom sections together with a paper strap of an appropriate length, can also be used.

In still another embodiment, a multi-unit vertical bundle of expandable dispensing cartons can be compressed as described above. The multi-unit bundle is held in the compressed condition by a plastic film wrap as conventionally used today to package bundle packs. The number of expandable dispensing cartons within the bundle can be two, three, four or more.

When the stack of tissues is interfolded for pop-up dispensing from the expandable dispensing carton, a detachable “surfboard” may be present on the top face F1 (such as represented by the oval opening of FIGS. 1-4). Such surfboards are a common feature of current commercially available tissue cartons. If the percent expansion of the compressed carton exceeds the percent expansion of the compressed stack of tissue sheets by a significant amount such that a substantial air space is created within the carton above the top of the expanded stack, dispensing of the first sheet may be compromised and may require the consumer to reach far into the opening to dispense the first sheet. This may be rectified using recently-developed technology where the top sheet is attached to the surfboard, such as is disclosed in US 2007/0045335 A1 to Szymonski et al., published Mar. 1, 2007, entitled “Tissue Sheet Dispenser and Process For Making Same”, which is herein incorporated by reference. Attachment of the surfboard to the top sheet is further facilitated by the compression step during manufacturing, thus creating a more forceful contact and adhesion between the top sheet and the surfboard.

The initial heights of the stack (hs1) and the carton (hc1) may vary depending upon the number of sheets within the stack, the caliper of the individual sheets and the nature of the folding of the sheets. In general, (hs1) will be from about 60 to about 120 percent of (hc1), more specifically from about 70 to about 110 percent of (hc1), and still more specifically from about 80 to about 100 percent of (hc1). In the compressed state, (hs2) will equal to (hc2). Suitably, (hc2) is from about 20 to about 80 percent of the height (hc1), more specifically from about 30 to about 70 percent of (hc1), and still more specifically from about 40 to about 60 percent of (hc1).

The expanded height of the carton (hc3) can be expressed in terms of the difference between the original carton height (hc1) and the contracted carton height (hc2), such that (hc3)=(hc2)+α(hc1−hc2), where “α” is the recovery coefficient of the carton. The recovery coefficient “α” can range from about 0.3 to about 1, more particularly from about 0.5 to about 1, and still more specifically from about 0.7 to about 1. When α=1, (hc3)=(hc1). Likewise, the expanded stack height (hs3) can be expressed in terms of the difference between the original uncompressed stack height (hs1) and the compressed stack height (hs2), such that hs3=hs2+β(hs1−hs2), where “β” is the recovery coefficient of the stack of tissue sheets. While it is preferable that the stack height expand with the release of the package compression, it is not a requirement of this invention. Thus “β” can be from 0 to 1, more preferably from about 0.2 to 1, and still more preferably from about 0.3 to 1.

A feature of this invention is that the total volume of the product, and not just the stack height of the tissue stack, must be reduced when the tissue stack is compressed, i.e., a 3-dimensional shrinkage is required for the invention to be cost-effective for shipping purposes. Thus the volume (V2) of the compressed package must be less than the volume of the original non-compressed package (V1) prior to compacting as well as less than the volume of the decompressed package (V3) after the restraining means is removed.

As previously mentioned, another advantage of the expandable dispensing carton design as illustrated in FIG. 4 is that as tissue sheets are removed from the carton, the height of the carton contracts so that dispensing can be further facilitated by reducing the occurrence of fallback. Thus as individual tissue sheets are removed from the carton the height of the carton becomes less than the initial expanded height (hc3) of the carton. In general, the final height of the expandable dispensing carton after all of the tissue sheets have been removed from the carton will be from about 20 to about 90 percent of hc3, more specifically from about 30 to about 80 percent of hc3, and still more specifically from about 50 to about 70 percent of hc3.

EXAMPLE

In order to further illustrate the invention, the bottom panel was removed from a 160 count KLEENEX® facial tissue box (Box 1) having dimensions of 9.375 inches long, 4.75 inches wide, and 3.25 inches high. The 160 sheets had a height of 3.25 inches in an uncompressed state. The sheets were removed from the box. The top panel was removed from a second identical box of facial tissue (Box 2). Two slits were cut on each long side panel of the second box. The slits were cut approximately ½ inch from the end panels and were cut down to within ½ inch of the bottom face. These cuts allowed the first box, which had the bottom panel removed, to fit over the second box, which had the top panel removed. The resulting carton was similar to that of FIG. 4, in which the modified Box 1 became the top of the expandable dispensing carton and the modified Box 2 became the bottom of the expandable dispensing carton. Ninety-two sheets from Box 1 were placed on top of the 160 count clip (stack) of tissue sheets in Box 2 (now the bottom). The remaining sheets from Box 1 were discarded. The resulting 252 sheet count stack had an uncompressed height of 5.125 inches. The top was fitted over the bottom containing the 252 sheet count clip and pressed downwardly. The clip was compressed by lowering top until the bottom edge of the top aligned with the bottom edge of the bottom. The top was then secured to the bottom with tape on all four sides of the resulting expandable dispensing carton. The tape was placed such that it spanned the joint between the sidewall of the top component of the carton and the bottom face of the bottom component of the carton. The compressed box height was 3.25 inches.

The surfboard was removed from the top of the expandable dispensing carton in order to dispense the tissues. No tissue could be dispensed from the box as the tissue tore immediately due to compression of the clip of tissues.

The tape strips holding the sides together were then slit using a knife to allow the carton to expand and relieve the compression of the stack of tissues. The top of the carton rose such that the expanded carton height was 4.5 inches. The tissues could now be dispensed without tearing. While pulling out the first tissue, the carton top rose to 5.375 inches and stayed at that height. Subsequent tissues were removed from the carton without incident. The top component did not fall during dispensing, but could be lowered with gentle pressure on the top face. With proper sizing of the bottom and top components of the expandable carton, the top could be made to fall on its own as the clip is used up.

A carton volume reduction of approximately 37% was achieved: ((5.125−3.25)/5.125)). Cardboard packaging required was reduced by 4% from 34.6 grams per 100 sheets of tissue to 33.2 grams per 100 sheets. As a result, the cost savings associated with the material and shipping costs for such a product would be significant.

It will be appreciated that the foregoing example, given for purposes of illustration, is not to be construed as limiting the scope of the invention, which is defined by the following claims and all equivalents thereto.